Template:Infobox Aircraft

Starboard tiltrotor

The Bell XV-3 (Bell 200) was a tiltrotor aircraft first flown in 1955. Like its predecessors, the XV-3 had the engines in the fuselage and drive shafts transferring power out to tilting wingtip rotor assemblies. It was fitted with ejection seats that fired downwards; they were never used.

Design and development

The original military designation was XH-33, classifying it as a helicopter, but its designation was changed to XV-3 in the convertiplane series. The designation was changed once again in 1962 to XV-3A when the V- prefix was changed to mean VTOL.

The XV-3 was successfully able to hover and transition to forwards flight, but had a number of stability, aerodynamic, and structural problems. The largest problem was aeroelastic stability, where vibrations of the rotors, tilt assemblies, wings, and fuselage would cause aerodynamic instability for the whole aircraft. It flew in August 1955 but crashed two months later. The second XV-3 made its first flight on 12 December 1958 and was able to make the conversion from vertical to horizontal flight 6 days afterward. The XV-3 was flown for 125 flight hours by 10 test pilots between 1955 and November, 1968. It accomplished 110 transitions from hovering to forward flight.

Significant work on the XV-3 program was done by Bell and its successor Bell Helicopter, by NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Ames Research Center, with funding and participation from the US Army and US Air Force. Although limited in performance, both hover and airplane mode speed, it successfully demonstrated the tiltrotor concept. The XV-3 program ended when it was severely damaged in a wind tunnel accident while tests were being made to determine how to fix some of the stability and aerodynamic problems. Work was abandoned at that point.[when?]


The sole XV-3 remained in the possession of Bell where it's condition deteriorated. In 2006 work was begun by Bell employees, some of who had originally helped build the XV-3, to restore the aircraft for display. Following a two year restoration the XV-1 was transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. It was placed on display in the Museum's Post-Cold War Gallery in June, 2007.

Specifications (XV-3A)

See also

Related development

Related lists